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Precursors (synonyms: precursor chemicals, drug precurors, scheduled substances) as defined by Council Regulations (EC) Nos. 273/2004 and 111/2005 are those substances including their salts and stereoisomeric forms (with the exception of cathine) listed in Categories 1 - 3 of the respective Annexes to these Regulations whenever the existence of such forms is possible.

Mixtures and natural products that contain the substances defined above are also considered precursors. This excludes medicinal products as defined by Directive 2001/83/EC, pharmaceutical preparations, mixtures, natural products, and other preparations that contain scheduled substances and are compounded in such a way that they cannot be easily used or extracted by readily applicable or economically viable means. The BfArM is the competent authority that controls the traffic in precursors by operators based in Germany. The BfArM also grants import authorisations for substances of Category 1 as well as export authorisations for substances of all three categories. Within the BfArM, this task is fulfilled by the Federal Opium Agency.